Friday, December 11, 2009

Harvard Governance

Harry Lewis (and Fred Abernathy) take a stand against the Harvard Corporation. Required reading for anyone associated with Harvard, or interested in its current predicaments.


Anonymous said...

Only the first two paragraphs are well argued. It is interesting that the faculty growth rate was actually much less than the endowment growth rate. This does not support their argument.

Infrastructure costs seem to be the major ballooning expense. The corporation obviously took a gamble with Allston, and it did not work out. A major campus expansion like this cannot be completed piecemeal---at some point you have to bite the bullet. Also, I think it is clear that this project has stimulated more donations, although this isn't easy to quantify. It would have been less risky to secure more targeted pledges.

I am just not convinced. You have to take risks, to be ambitious, if you want to make big changes. This one hasn't worked out so well, but the consequences to Harvard haven't been all that terrible. The endowment has bounced back quite a bit. Some staff early retirements and buying fewer books does not equal "less educational and scholarly reach." (How much did the library's book acquisition budget grow during the bubble? Has it just reverted to normal? Who knows; the authors are more interested in scoring rhetorical points than actually buttressing their claims.)

Anonymous said...

I hope Summers doesn't do to the country what he did to Harvard!